The week before, August 8-16, a smaller and less glitzy event, Dokufest, focuses on documentary film. This festival is as cozy and quirky as Kosovo, Europe’s youngest nation—both in terms of independence and population (half of the country’s residents are under the age of 25).
Nestled in the Ottoman town of Prizren—less than an hour from Kosovo’s capital Prishtina—young and hip Balkan residents converge to watch films and one another. By day there are cajtores, or teahouses, to sit and sip tea for hours and prepare for another night at the DokuNights stage, which brings bands and DJs from the region and across Europe to party all night.
The past year saw tens of thousands of Kosovars leaving the country (where one third of the population still lives on less than 1 euro per day) so the theme this year is focused on films and events about migration.
You certainly won’t want to leave the festival though, because with its screening theaters set up on the Bistrica River or on the walls of the city’s medieval fortress.
If you want something a bit more heady, the DokuTech stage hosts designers, tech geeks and start-up gurus to share experiences and promote a culture of innovation—from discussing filming porn with a GoogleGlass to co-founding the downloading site The Pirate Bay.
If you go, be prepared that many of the hotels will be booked, but the festival staff can help arrange houses. Or you can rent a tent at the DokuCamp for just a few euros.